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January 7, 2023

Left Field Brewery

January 7, 2023

Oh, hey there.

Have you ever wanted a recipe, took a tour of Pinterest, finally found one, only to end up scrolling… and scrolling… and scrolling to the point where you give up and just use the one on the back of the box? Or listen to a new podcast only to be met with 35 minutes of banter before they tell you about the horrific crime you tuned in for, only for that to be when your baby wakes up and you missed your window of macabre and now have to go back to Ms. Rachel?

            This isn’t like that, don’t worry. Here’s the Coles Notes:

            I became a mom in June of 2020. The worst possible year to start a new type of life. It was isolating, it was lonely, it had many rough patches. My daughter is now a happy, vibrant toddler who has no idea she missed out on baby groups, mommy and me classes, and general socialization before age one.

            But I know. And it sucks.

So when those two pink lines appeared on the stick last November, I knew I wanted to do everything. So during pregnancy I did just that. I got the massages, the acupuncture, the boujie maternity photoshoot on the beach with my bump out, I did it all.

            Enter Baby E in August of 2022. Before he was a week old I was registered for Mommy Connections, had already gone to the farmer’s market, paraded him around my daughters daycare, and googled what to do with a baby in my neighbourhood.

            And let me tell you – East Toronto is proving to be an amazing place to raise kids. I’m determined to do all of the things, and bring you along for the ride.

            So that’s it! A mom of two in the city, checking out all there is to offer for families and caregivers, and letting the world know what I thought. With a degree in Early Childhood Studies as well as Family Support and Community Engagement, I’m equipped to check it all out with a critical eye, a baby on the hip, and a constant need for coffee.

Two weeks ago, I told my partner I wanted to make an Instagram to make meetups in my area more cohesive. What I didn’t realize is how beneficial this would be to the other parents in East End Toronto. Having spent my first maternity leave in lockdown after lockdown, I knew just how lonely that time home can feel, but at the same time had no idea how refreshing it would be to just get out of the house with other moms.

            This week I hit up EarlyOn centers, breweries, coffee shops, parks and spent a little too much time on my phone hunting down ways to bring parents together. This has been especially tricky post-holiday break, when the days are short but the hours drag on. I actually told my partner this week “I feel like I’m living in a box some days.”. My son is at the age (5 months) where nothing is interesting longer than 10-15 minutes, except for my face. I barely get my coffee drank (lukewarm, of course) before its time to switch from the baby Björn to the bouncer, or the bumbo to the snuggle me, or the jolly jumper to the exerciser. (Seriously though, why do kids need so many containers?!).

            So, I threw up my hands and said “screw it! We’re getting out.”

            Did I know anyone in the group chat I messaged? No. Did I still load up my stroller, wait outside in the rain and hope someone would join me for a walk from the coffee shop down the street? I sure did! And you know what? I made two new friends that day. The next day one of the mom’s and I went to the same drop-in center.

            This week I checked out a few local businesses, some drop-in programs and a brewery. Here’s what I learned:

Coffee & Clothing (841 Gerrard St east)

The staff here are delightful. The first floor is stroller accessible, however there’s a few steps up to the clothing. There are also some low tables in the front, not a ton of seating but it was a cute little spot to get out of the rain and have an afternoon tea while E slept soundly in the stroller.

https://www.coffeeandclothing.ca/

The Rooster Coffee House (479 Broadview Avenue)

Now, full disclosure I’m a regular here. I live and work nearby, so I’m partial to this spot. However, they are not an accessible space. There is one step to get inside, and I notice most people leave their strollers outside when they go in. I will say though, last time I went and had both kids in the stroller a barista came over and helped me lift it into the cafe. So, after a rough night with my toddler, I grabbed a delicious latte, and parked myself outside, texted a neighbourhood group chat and hoped for the best. Two moms came out and we did a 5k walk in the light drizzle and talked everything from RSV to epidurals. It was great!

https://roostercoffeehouse.com/

South Riverdale Child Parent Center (765 Queen Street East)

This place is the best. If you’re a new parent and need any form of support, they’ve got it there. A toy lending library, a free clothing exchange, a hot cup of coffee, they have it all. We’ve become regulars for their circle times and events.  They have drop in times during the week, outings on Wednesdays, and a unique Saturday program.

www.srcpc.org

Kids & Coffee at City Cottage Market (1427 Kingston Rd, Scarborough, ON)

City Cottage Market was the cutest venue! They host a Kids & Coffee social every Tuesday morning. The owner was so welcoming and accommodating, and joins in with her adorable little baby. It’s a smaller space, so definitely somewhere to baby wear if possible, and if your little is mobile bring something for them to sit on. The snacks were yummy and the drinks were hot, they also had some alcoholic bevvys in cans, and lots of food options for grocery or immediate consumption. Highly recommend hitting this up if you’re in the area! (Plus, the dollar store across the street is huge!)

https://www.citycottagemarket.ca/

Left Field Brewery (36 Wagstaff Dr, Toronto)

I was super nervous about this one, as it was my first big event with East End Mom Friends. It ended up being super successful! The venue itself is big, but the tables were high top and there wasn’t much space for strollers. The office staff came out and offered to have the staff move a forklift for us (!!). This was amazing and made so much space for stroller parking. They do not serve food – so bring a snack if you’re having a drink. They also recently started carrying a number of non-alcoholic drinks which were very well received. I tried a sour beer (yum!) and a spritzer. We’ll definitely go back to this one!

https://www.leftfieldbrewery.ca/

This week felt super successful. I was overjoyed Friday after the brewery event with how many moms (and dads!) came together to connect.

I want to make two additional shoutouts to local businesses:

 Whimsical Crispie

Whimsical is a local gourmet Rice Crispie Treat maker. I won a box of treats from their Instagram and they were DELICIOUS. My 2YO and I had a field day with those, so definitely check them out as a sweet treat!

https://www.whimsicalcrispie.ca/

Alex Wessen Photography

Alex came to my Mommy Connections group and she was so fun to work with, accommodating, and kind. We got our photos back from her this week and I’m smitten! Highly recommend if you’re looking for family photos in the area.

https://www.alexwessonphotography.com/

Thanks for joining us!

Xo

Trish & co.

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